The age of information means there is so much information out there concerning food. The downside is the existence of conflicting information. How do you sift through the myriad of information to find out what is practical and scientifically grounded information? The guide below explores the science behind a few of the most popular diet fads.

Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet was first used as a treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s. Since then, it has been investigated as a way to manage conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some kinds of cancer. A ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate and low protein diet with a high fat intake. This causes low blood glucose levels. The keto diet came into the limelight in the 1970s thanks to Robert Atkins, a cardiologist that popularised the Atkins Diet®. The composition of a ketogenic diet forces the liver to produce ketones an alternative source of energy which has been found to be more a more efficient energy source.

Ketogenic diets has been shown to reduce hunger and cravings, help people lose body fat and make them look a lot better. For others, they find that they are unable to follow the diet due to unpleasant effects like brain fog, and lower energy levels. The ketogenic diet is effective when commitment is made over a long term.

Dietary Cholesterol and Saturated Fat

In 2015, a review in the British Medical Journal claimed there were no links between the intake of saturated fats and the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Another study found that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats even reduced cardiovascular disease. While people previously believed that fat should be avoided, the recommendation now is to avoid carbohydrate instead. Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat is better than replacing it with carbohydrates.

Based on this, olives, avocados, almonds, cashews, fish oil, flaxseed and other known sources of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are now being promoted as good for heart health.

Paleo Diet

The paleo diet has been popular since the 1970s when it was created by a gastroenterologist, Walter Voegtlin. It is a diet that focuses on eating allowed and not allowed foods. Allowed foods are meals that cave-dwellers presumably ate and all other foods especially processed foods are to be avoided. Based on this, grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, potatoes, and all processed foods are not allowed. Things like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds which are unprocessed are allowed.

paleo diet

The arguments behind the paleo diets doesn’t quite hold water but the emphasis on whole foods still present a way to improve eating habits. The forfeiture of dairy, grains and legumes are not particularly healthy as these can lead to certain mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

A good way to approach a paleo diet is to focus on what you can eat – the meat, eggs, vegetables and so on, while still consuming a lower amount of the foods that are not allowed. A slow transition also helps ensure a better diet consistency rate.

How Harmful is Skipping Breakfast?

People who have lost at least 10% of their body weight and retained the weight loss for at least a year are those who consume breakfast regularly according to the National Weight Control Registry. However, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that the role of breakfast in weight management strategies might have been overstated. If skipping breakfast doesn’t make you any more likely to overeat at other meal times or throughout the day, then it might not be so harmful. There are few people who are still able to function optimally without breakfast. However, if you notice a lag in energy and eating habits on days when you skip breakfast then you should know that breakfast is important for you.

You need to keep an inventory of your eating habits and see how it varies based on whether or not you eat breakfast. Are you still able to control your appetite or do you find that you overeat when you skip breakfast? Experiment to find out what works for you in terms of your energy, cravings and mood.


Calorie Counting

Calorie restriction might cause weight loss, but when used incorrectly, the can raise cortisol levels which in cause weight gain in the long run. Calorie counting can be tedious and had to perform accurately. The counts can be off by up to 25 percent.  If an accurate enough way to count calorie can be developed then it can be a sustainable way to lose weight and eat healthy.

In the end, what is really important is finding out what works for you and sticking to it as much as possible because when it comes to healthy eating, the most effective approach a sustainable long-term approach.

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